18 October 2010

Review: A Praying Life

A Praying LifeA Praying Life by Paul E. Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book changed my prayer life, by coming at a time in my life when I was in need, when I was down, and when even prayer seemed "distant" to me. Being raised most of my adult life within the framework of a pretty hard-core Reformed faith that put such a high value on reverence and fear before God, it must have worked in a way that made me forget the Father/son relationship that our heavenly father has with us. This book, in a nutshell, helped me change my thoughts from a awe-inspiring, big fearful fiery God to whom we approach (yes, he is those things), into a needy son who can't make it on his own and who has to come to his Father for everything little thing just to make it through each day.

Many books on prayer that I have read in the past have done the theological work of breaking down the sections of the Lord's prayer to show how we can use that, or they may seek to point out the seriousness of prayer, the awesome power of God, etc. Great stuff, but sometimes these deeper theological books on prayer do not present it in a more practical way in which the reader can readily apply what the book teaches to their life. This book comes off to me as more application, more real life use, more down to earth focus on our daily struggles in life. Maybe the book holds no big secrets, or has not special plan for everyone, but I guess it hit me at a time in my life where it was more needed. It has revived a dying prayer life and given it more meaning. In a couple areas of life, the answers to some prayers were immediate, which even further ignited my prayer life.

As the author points out, I know in my life too, we become somewhat self dependent, only looking to God for the "big things" we might need help with here or there. Instead, we need to approach God daily, for all thing, the littlest to the biggest. He states early on that in the beginning of fixing your prayer life, start small, and try praying for like 5 minutes at a time, and let it grow from there over time. Honestly, with the freedom to just bring my cares and needs (of which there are many) to the Father, I have found there is no real lack of things to pray for, and 5 minutes becomes hard to not blow right past.

The book itself, is full of stories from the authors life, and how God has worked to show him things through them. They show how things for the author were not always answered in a way that he necessary had in his mind, but how they were answered none the less. The stories just added that personal real-life touch to the message of the book, which was a nice addition.

So, I am not sure if everyone would appreciate this book as much, and from looking at some of the other reviews this seems to be the case; but for me it came at a time I needed it and it has helped me refocus of a Father/son relationship with my heavenly Father that had been misconstrued before, and for that I am thankful.

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